Archive for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kansas Senate, House override Brownback’s veto of rules for firms like Uber

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

May 5, 2015, 2:44 p.m. Updated May 5, 2015, 10:38 p.m.

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— Ride-hailing company Uber says it is pulling out of Kansas after the state Legislature overrode Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of new regulations.

Both legislative chambers on Tuesday comfortably surpassed the two-thirds majority votes needed for the override. The company said in a statement shortly after the House vote that it was ceasing operations in the state. The Uber app also displayed a message saying "KANSAS JUST SHUT DOWN UBER" to Kansas users.

Uber's statement said it was saddened by the loss of jobs and transportation choice for consumers.

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

A screenshot of the Uber app in Kansas, as of 3:09 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

The measure requires drivers for ride-hailing companies to undergo state background checks and hold additional auto insurance coverage.

Uber connects drivers to riders through a mobile app, and was operating in Wichita and Kansas City.

Lawrence was one of the communities Uber had expanded into following Brownback’s veto of the new regulations. Lawrence city commissioners had said they would need to consider placing local requirements on Uber, if the Kansas legislature didn’t override the veto.

City Hall officials had confirmed that the city’s existing regulations for taxi cab companies did not cover ridesharing companies such as Uber. Prior to Uber’s announcement, city commissioners already had expressed interest in requiring drivers for taxi cabs to undergo background checks. Some city commissioners had said it would be difficult to require taxi cab companies to undergo background checks, but exempt Uber and other ridesharing services from the requirement.

The city likely will consider approving the new regulations for taxi cab companies in the next several weeks.

Brownback released a statement after the House vote Tuesday afternoon.

"As I said when I vetoed this bill, Kansas should be known as a state that welcomes and embraces innovation and the economic growth that comes with it," Brownback said. "Over-regulation of businesses discourages investment and harms the open and free marketplace. Uber, and other innovative businesses, should be encouraged to operate, grow and create jobs here in Kansas."

Lawrence-area house members Barbara Ballard, Boog Highberger and John Wilson, all Democrats, and Tom Sloan, a Republican, voted for the override.


— Journal-World reporter Chad Lawhorn contributed to this story

Comments

David Holroyd 2 years, 5 months ago

Über is now OVER...Culture Farms on wheels rides on.

Justin Anderson 2 years, 5 months ago

Can you post the roll call vote? who voted yes and who no? the one thing Brownback did right and the house and senate override the veto...SMH

Paul Geisler 2 years, 5 months ago

This is funny if for nothing but the fact that Brownslack's own conservative Republican legislators just thumbed their nose at him for what seems like the first time since he entered office. But seriously, if Uber doesn't want to play by the State's rules for regulated taxi service then as far as I'm concerned they can go play somewhere else. The experiences I had with Uber in Orlando, FL were good and not so good, with some very nice cars and some not so nice/safe cars, and some very professional drivers & some not so great drivers that didn't know their way around Orlando, (even while using their GPS device)! But the bigger problem is how Uber treats their drivers as contract employees to avoid having to cover employee benefits like health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, etc.

Glenn Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

"But the bigger problem is how Uber treats their drivers as contract employees to avoid having to cover employee benefits like health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, etc."

While I'm inclined to agree that the welfare of the drivers is an issue, I seriously doubt it was a point of concern for either the governor or the legislature on this topic.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 5 months ago

Kind of like dolph and newspaper carriers?

Tim Hornik 2 years, 5 months ago

Someone seriously needs to explain how in a state that voted in favor of removing training to conceal and carry (SB45) possesses no qualms with citing background and safety concerns for Uber drivers? Having taken Uber in Washington D.C. and Colorado, I never experienced anything but professional service far superior to the cab drivers in these same areas.

Unfortunately, both Senator Francisco and Representative Sloan voted in favor of the veto. Differently, Senator Fransisco voted against SB 45, while Representative Sloan voted in favor of the measure.

Joshua Cain 2 years, 5 months ago

Given that possessing a firearm is a right I can see how that comparison doesn't apply. I think a better example would be that home inspectors in Kansas don't have any regulations at all.

I wonder who voted in favor of that legislation but voted to override the recent Brownback veto.

http://ksinspectors.org/

I had fully planned to take UBER downtown on Saturday for a night out. Cars are cleaner. The drivers are cleaner. The ride is cheaper. I get home without having to wait for an hour for a taxi.

Anyone want to give me a lift home this Saturday at 2:00 AM?

Steve Jacob 2 years, 5 months ago

I love issues that bring the far left and right together.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't know how I stand on Uber, but this is pretty hypocritical. They want Kansas to be business friendly? They are discouraging renewable energy, something the rest of the world is advancing, and now they vote out a business that is thriving in other states? Not the message that other businesses want.

Michael Napier 2 years, 5 months ago

I'd love to see some stats on the percent of cab/limo drivers that have full benefits... I'd guess next to none.
Regarding the insurance portion, could someone help clarify what the big deal was in the legislation... Uber requires vehicles 10 years old and newer, drivers must have full coverage, and then Uber adds on a policy on top of that. And Uber background checks them.
What did these legislators expect the benefit would be? Other than pleasing a bunch of pocket-filling lobbyists.

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